An investigation into an illegal cockfighting operation led to 18 arrests in Oregon and Washington, including a member of the Royal Family of Romania.
The U.S. Department of Justice said Thursday morning's arrests stem from 10 illegal cockfighting "derbies" between April 1, 2012 and May 19, 2013 in Morrow County.
Investigators said John Walker and Irina Walker, also known as Irina Kreuger, hosted the fights at their property on Depot Lane in Irrigon.
The Coos County Sheriff's Office confirmed that John Walker was a deputy with the department from August 1998 through June 2003.
A release posted on the Romanian Royal Family's website, and translated through Google Translate, identifies Irina Walker as a Romanian princess.
"His Majesty King Michael I noted with deep sorrow about the events related to Princess Irina of Romania, daughter. His Majesty and the Royal Family hopes justice throughout American and Oregon State courts will settle the just and fastest way possible."
The release also calls for the presumption of innocence for the princess related to "this unfortunate event."
An unsealed federal indictment states participants would bring roosters to that location and a knife, gaff or other sharp object would be attached to their legs. The animals would then fight to the death. Investigators said if not killed during a fight, the losing rooster is almost always killed afterward.
"A derby usually consists of dozens of individual cockfights lasting for several hours depending on the number of entries," the indictment states.
In this case, investigators said other people involved were spectators and workers. The workers served various roles, including collecting admission, entry fees and bets, along with weighing the roosters, matching the roosters for the fights, keeping written records of the fights, selling and sharpening gaffs and disbursing the wagered money to the winners.
At least one person would manage and supervise the fights in the role of a referee. Food and drinks were also served at a concession stand, according to the indictment.
The indictment states the operation would bring in gross revenue of $2,000 or more per day.
Each of the charges, including illegal gambling, unlawful animal fighting and conspiracy, carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The indictment also alleges that, if convicted, the Walkers would lose their Irrigon property.
Those arrested in Oregon are scheduled to be arraigned in court in Portland on Friday. The suspects arrested in Washington will go before a judge in Yakima, WA. Booking photos of the suspects were not immediately available.
Six people are charged with operating an illegal gambling business.
John Walker, 67, of Irrigon.
Irina Walker (aka Irina Kreuger), 60, of Irrigon.
Mario Perez (aka El Cuba), 62, of Hermiston.
David Sanchez, 29, of Irrigon.
Jose Luis Virgen Ramirez, 48, of Hermiston.
Aurelia Garcia Mendoza, 33, of Irrigon.
Those six, along with 12 others, are charged with conspiracy to violate the Animal Welfare Act.
Apolinar Munoz Gutierrez (aka Polo), 37, of Irrigon.
Cecilio Mendoza Magana, 63, of Kennewick, WA.
Mauro Gonzalez Pulido (aka Cala), 47, of Zillah, WA.
Ruben Saltos Godina (aka Chino), 42, of Moxee, WA.
Arturo Olmedo Silva (aka El Havolin, Cepillo), 45, of Hermiston.
Eduardo Cisneros (aka Mariachi), 27, of Sunnyside, WA.
Eulalio Delamora Anguiano (aka Lalo), 44 of Moxee, WA.
Francisco Javier Vega (aka Sergio Gonzalez Manzano), 39, of Plymouth, WA.
Oscar Acosta Navarrete, 46, of Prosser, WA.
Antonio Dominguez Robles (aka Tono, Memo), 37, of Pasco, WA.
Gerardo Gomez Castillo (aka Aguilo), 54, of Wapato, WA.
Valente Piedra Magana, 38, of Union Gap, WA.
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